Frequently Asked Questions & Glossary of Terms

To aid your understanding of the NDP and associated processes, below you will find the answers to the questions that get asked the most about our NDP project.

We recognise that there are a lot of planning and NDP terms that may be new to you.  A glossary of the most commonly used terms can be found HERE.

Click on a question to reveal or hide the answer.


Environment


E1 - How has the impact of potential flooding and groundwater levels been assessed?
All sites have gone through an initial flood risk assessment against the latest Environment Agency’s Flood Risk Maps and Surface Water Flood Maps. We have followed government guidance in relation to assessing sites for flood risk. This is laid out in the Meeting Housing Needs and Site Assessment Report.

Where part of a site is within a flood zone and part is not, consideration has been given to whether those parts outside might still provide a reduced area site.

Any potential development sites close to risk of flooding will have to have a flood risk assessment to determine whether any mitigation measure is necessary.

E2 - Why are we not using Brownfield sites?
Of course brownfield sites are preferable and this is reflected in the assessment criteria.

However the few brownfield sites that were submitted were not chosen because they did not pass the mandatory requirements for a suitable site, mainly as they lay in open countryside.

E3 - What about the impact of an increase in traffic and number of houses on an AONB?
75% of Walford parish is within the Wye Valley AONB and all settlements are within the AONB. Visual and habitat impact are already key planning elements when considering any development within an AONB.  Housing density, visual and habitat impact have been considered in the site assessments.

An assessment of the effect of sites on the landscape and habitats has been undertaken, which is included in the Meeting Housing Needs and Site Assessment Report.

Unfortunately, traffic density is not normally a key planning issue and in rural areas traffic levels are usually considered to be low by modern, urban standards.

E4 - Why are we using prime agricultural land?
Protection of the Best and Most Versatile Agricultural Land, was used as one of the assessment criteria to differentiate between sites.  Government requires this to be protected from substantial, inappropriate, and unsustainable development.
E5 - What about the impact on wildlife?
The site assessment included consideration of effect on wildlife, habitats, and pollution to differentiate between sites. Other organisations with responsibilities for the environment, services, housing, and employment will be consulted formally at the regulation 14 stage.

In relation to potential housing sites, their importance to wildlife has been considered, both in terms of the land itself and the immediate surroundings. Developments can, in fact, offer opportunities to increase the variety of wildlife within gardens, especially where previously the land was in arable use. In addition, developers will be expected to achieve net gains in biodiversity because of measures included in the current Environment Bill.

Ecological surveys would be normal for sites such as these if included in the NDP, and this would ensure appropriate protection to species according to their importance and set the base line for enhancement measures.


Community Facilities


F1 - How might housing development in close proximity to Walford Primary School impact numbers and safety?

Demographics indicate that meeting Walford Parish’s full housing requirement will add around 5-9 school aged children to the local population. At present Walford Primary School is under capacity with the majority of the pupils who attend living outside of the parish.

Highway capacity is a legitimate concern and a consideration that was included in the site assessment. The suggested entrances/exits for all sites are outside of the 20mph school related speed zone that has been established along the B4234.

It is understood that there is likely to be sufficient capacity along the B4234 through the Parish to accommodate the level of development which it is required to meet.

Herefordshire Council as the Local Highways Authority will be formally consulted upon the draft plan when it has been prepared at the Regulation 14 stage. Should they feel that there are safety concerns, then these will be given significant weight and used to revise the plan accordingly.


Housing


H1 - Why has the NDP project conducted new site assessments in 2020 after the AECOM report in 2017? What was wrong with the AECOM report?
The AECOM report only had the first 16 offered sites and there are now 39.

The AECOM report did not correctly differentiate between sites in, or adjacent to, the settlements and those in open countryside.

Therefore a new assessment was conducted to correct those mistakes and assess the newly offered sites.

H2 - Brownfield sites are preferable to greenfield sites on agricultural land. Why have these brownfield sites not been chosen for consideration?
Of course brownfield sites are preferable and this is reflected in the assessment criteria.

However the few brownfield sites that were submitted were not chosen because they did not pass the mandatory requirements for a suitable site, mainly as they lay in open countryside.

H3 - Why are the many caravans in the parish not counted towards the development target?
Herefordshire Council has classified them as temporary accommodation for seasonal workers and as such do not qualify as dwellings.

As they are specific to seasonal workers, the sites would not therefore be open to the wider housing market as the location and purpose means they are there to serve the farm’s fruit picking business. The caravans are temporary structures and they can easily be removed when no longer required.

H4 - Why are you still pursuing large developments against public sentiment? We do not believe there is a requirement to propose a development that goes against the wishes of the parishioners
Indeed the sentiment in the questionnaire in 2014 and at the consultations in 2020 gives weight to smaller development sites.

The NDP process is

1. Consider ALL suitable sites.

2. Define a housing option that gives certainty to achieving the target.

3. Present an argument for that option over the others.

Of course WPC will take account of public feedback in 2014, 2020 and also now in the 2021 questionnaire.

So to answer the question, the large sites cannot be eliminated at the pre-formal consultation stage, but may be at the decision stage before submitting the draft NDP to Herefordshire Council.  But only if the small and medium sized sites represent a viable option for meeting the target.

H5 - Ross is in excess of the housing requirement can that not be taken into account?
Neighbouring councils can sometimes help out with housing allocation, but this is only the case when one parish cannot meet its housing target.

Should the Parish not be able to accommodate even the minimum required level of housing growth, the Parish Council would need to show, through evidence, that this is the case. At the present time it is not able to do so.

Therefore with the current suitable sites we cannot take into account the excess that Ross has.

H6 - Where does the target for 91 houses between 2011 and 2031 come from? What is the current number of houses towards that target?
The target comes from the Herefordshire Core Strategy which in turn is derived from national housing targets allocated to county councils. Basically 91 is 14% of the housing in the parish as at 2011.

As of April 2020 there were 9 completed houses and 27 planning approvals.

There have been additional planning approvals which would reduce the remaining target but we need to await the results from Herefordshire Council.

In addition, some approvals may lapse which would increase the target again.

WPC has to wait until after April 2021 for an update to the remaining target.


Infrastructure


I1 - How can more development be proposed in Walford Parish when the local roads are already dangerous for pedestrians and traffic on the B4234 is excessive?
Herefordshire Council are responsible for developing and implementing a Transport Policy for the whole County. In 2016 Herefordshire Council produced a Local Transport Plan 2016-2031 in which they described the measures that they would be taking to manage and develop the local road network.

Whilst a Parish Council may, in their NDP, comment on the traffic loading in their Parish they may not include any specific policies that directly affect the local road network. That role remains completely with Herefordshire Council. Once a draft NDP has been produced Herefordshire Council are a statutory consultee and their Highways Department will be expected to review the draft Plan in respect of any potential highways problems with proposed developments or policies.

The Parish Council can highlight what they see as possible traffic or road related problem areas but they cannot, at this stage, use them as a reason for discounting development options.


NDP Process


P1 - Where does the 14% housing growth requirement for the Parish come from?
Government sets the formula which local planning authorities should use to determine the level of house building required. For Herefordshire this was tested at a public examination into the current Core Strategy and agreed as 16,500 between 2011 and 2031. Of this, some 5,300 dwellings are to be located in rural settlements (see Core Strategy policy SS2). Herefordshire Council decided how it wished to see this amount of dwellings distributed around its rural settlements, setting out various levels of proportional growth. These proportions do vary around the County with some rural areas being required to provide a higher percentage and some lower. Walford’s requirement for 14% sits close to the middle of the range which varies between 12% and 18% according to which Housing Market Area a parish falls within.
P2 - What status will our Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP) have when it comes to Herefordshire Council making decisions on planning applications?

Our NDP will form part of the Development Plan when it is adopted. The Planning Act requires planning applications to be determined in accordance with the Development Plan unless material considerations indicate otherwise. Hence in nearly all instances Herefordshire Planners will need to give it the same weight as the Core Strategy. 

In relation to housing, Government’s National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) indicates that should Herefordshire Council not meet a number of conditions covering the requirement for it to have a 5-year housing land supply of deliverable sites or meet a Housing Delivery Test, then the Core Strategy will be considered to be out of date and superseded by the NPPF.  However, if there is an adopted NDP then the housing supply requirement is only 3-years. This provision will apply for 2 years from adoption of the NDP but it will provide given some breathing space. The NDP may therefore need to be reviewed before the end of the 2-year period from adoption should it appear that Herefordshire Council not comply with the housing conditions.  Guidance on reviewing NDPs is available from Herefordshire Council. Other policies in the NDP will remain pertinent until the NDP is reviewed or superseded by the NPPF or Core Strategy. Herefordshire Council must review its Core Strategy every 5-years.